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Ducati 1199 Panigale S ABS (2012-current)

£20,250

1198cc, 195bhp, 186mph, Insurance group 17

A mould-breaking motorcycle. Apart from the colour and the noise it makes, the Panigale has nothing in common with Ducati superbikes of old. The chassis is ‘frameless’, there’s a new-generation ‘superquadro’ L-twin engine and it comes with the very latest electronic rider aids, which work. Producing a claimed 195bhp and weighing 188kg, wet, it has a fearsome power-to-weight ratio, but ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha YZF-R1 (2012-current)

£12,399

998cc, 157.75bhp, 185mph, Insurance group 17

Not much has changed with the 2012 R1, but the big news is it now has a six-stage traction control system, incorporating anti-wheelie in its two most intrusive levels. It also has a restyled nose, a slotted YZR-M1-style top yoke and a longer, softer rear shock. The changes aren’t enough to compete with the new-generation of hardcore superbikes, like the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC Special Edition (2010-2012)

£16,474

998cc, 180bhp, 180mph, Insurance group 17

It might look like a common or garden 180bhp V4 Aprilia RSV4 Factory, but this special edition version (only 350 are being made, 50 to come to the UK) has moved road-going superbikes on as much as the BMW S1000RR did. It’s loaded with cutting-edge electronic riding aids, which make you faster and safer. Its new traction and wheelie control ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati 1198SP (2010-2011)

£17,995

1198cc, 170bhp, 175mph, Insurance group 17

Replacing the 1198S, Ducati’s new 1198SP features an electronic quickshifter, an Ohlins TTX rear shock, slipper clutch and a lighter, larger 18-litre fuel tank. Overall weight is down 1kg to 168kg dry. Short of spending over £30k for the limited edition homologation-special 1198R Corse, the SP is the ultimate evolution of the 1198. It’s a brutally grunty machine, which needs ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati 848 Evo (2010-2012)

£10,995

849cc, 126bhp, 166mph, Insurance group 17

Ducati’s new 848 Evo is a masterpiece. Replacing the current 848, which has been with us since 2008, the 848 Evo has 1198R Brembo Monobloc brake calipers, a non-adjustable steering damper and tweaks to the engine to make it rev harder and faster. These subtle tweaks are enough to put the Ducati into a different league. It’s now every bit ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda VFR400R (NC30) (1988-1994)

N/A

399cc, 60bhp, 128mph, Insurance group 10

The Honda VFR400R, or NC30 as it’s commonly known, is effectively a 400cc version of the iconic VFR750R (RC30) and as such is a cheaper alternative to the RVF400R which succeeded it in 1994. It has excellent handling, still looks good and a usable engine for road and track, although it’s not as quick flat out as some of the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda RVF400 (1994-1996)

N/A

399cc, 59.4bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 12

Honda’s RVF400 was a pin-up race replica that had sports bike fans dribbling down their paddock jackets in the mid-nineties. The trouble was that Honda never officially brought the NC35 (its ‘factory’ code name) into the UK, which was a crying shame, although many have found their way here as ‘grey’ imports. Replacing the VFR400R (NC30), which Honda did officially ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Aprilia RSV4 Factory (2009-current)

£16,932

998cc, 180bhp, 180mph, Insurance group 17

At last, we’ve finally been able to ride the RSV4 in the dry after its sopping wet launch in Spring 2009! As we said before, Aprilia built the RSV4 as a race bike first, road bike second. You won’t even scratch the surface of what it’s capable of on the road in terms of power and handling. Video: 415-mile road ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha YZF-R1 (2009-2011)

£13,399

998cc, 179bhp, 182mph, Insurance group 17

This is like no in-line-four cylinder sportsbike ever produced. It’s simply sensational.  The Yamaha R1’s ultra-short-stroke engine has a cross-plane crankshaft, with its crank pins set at 90° and has irregular firing intervals, which is technology lifted directly from Valentino Rossi’s factory YZR-M1. At a standstill the motor spins up like a two-stroke and on the move the R1’s ability ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CBR600RR (2009-current)

£9,799

599cc, 107bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 15

Honda has given its supersports weapon subtle tweaks for 2009, designed to give it more mid-range oomph and a smoother power delivery. New pistons, cylinder head and exhaust system have bolstered torque between 6000-10,000rpm, which makes the engine more flexible on the road. Luckily for us, this has been done without sacrificing any top-end power. The big news, though, is ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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